Flat design is a way of designing web and application interfaces by creating simple, usable interfaces that are both attractive and easy to use, irrespective of where the app or page is displayed. If used well flat design can positively impact your site performance and user experience.
The current flat design trend is mostly in response to the rapid emergence of mobile internet and mobile apps and was really solified by Apple’s Johnny Ive who designed Apple IOS 7. Microsoft 8 and its mobile version also have a flat design that focuses on functionality and aesthetics. Hundreds of mobile applications and sites like Shopify, Magento, or Media Temple have designed their interfaces in response to the mobile Internet and mobile app trends.
Flat Design In Response To Smartphones And Tablets
The internet is rapidly evolving and nowhere is this more apparent than mobile internet. According to research (2013 Pew Internet and American Life report) over half of all adult Americans have and use a smartphone. About 145 million Americans use a smartphone such as an iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S4 or HTC One. Additionally, more than 33% of American adults owns a tablet device, according to a separate Pew report released in 2013.
Mobile Internet and applications have forced designers to embrace new website and application design requirements with a focus on fast loading pages, clean interfaces that and understandable navigation. One important additional requirement centers around screen sizes. With a multitude of screen sizes available there is a necessity to ensure that sites and applications maintain their aesthetic design, appeal and functionality. To accomplish these ends, flat design generally does away with extreme gradients, textures, and visual tricks that imply depth or a third dimension.
What Does The Future Hold?
If history is any indication flat design won’t be a lasting trend, simply because when it comes to design, change is king. Already gradients are slowly returning as scalable design evolves and designers start mastering responsive design.